'Behavioural change remains best weapon to fight Covid-19,' says DA

John Steenhuisen welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement to put Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality under a stronger lockdown.
John Steenhuisen welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement to put Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality under a stronger lockdown.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

The DA has noted Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement to put restrictions and further combat Covid-19 on Thursday.

DA Leader John Steenhuisen reiterated the president’s call for South Africans to play their part in preventing the spread of infections.

“Significant behavioural changes are still the best weapon to combat not only the spread of infections but also to prevent other medical trauma from clogging up our hospitals and ICU beds. This behavioural change needs to also apply to social gatherings over this holiday season. We may remain on level 1, which allows for substantial indoor gatherings of up to 250 people, but such a large gathering would be extremely irresponsible given everything we know now about the spread of this airborne virus,” Steenhuisen said.

Regarding Nelson Mandela Bay, the party called on Ramaphosa to "intervene intervene in the unfolding crisis" there, and to ensure the healthcare capacity was made available. 

"This must involve increasing capacity at existing hospitals for Covid-specific use as well as the provision and staffing of temporary field hospitals," said Steenhuisen.

He said the government should also be doing all it can to ensure that South Africans have access to the same protection as the rest of the world.

“This should have started by securing a spot at the front of the queue for Covid vaccines.

Unfortunately, our government has bungled this badly by missing the deadline for the first payment in the Covax vaccine initiative.

This means we now fall back in the queue, and South Africans might have to wait even longer before securing a vaccine.

“This is unacceptable, and the government owes the country a detailed and honest explanation of exactly what went wrong. It is crucial that this payment is made this week  and that we book our spot in the queue,” he added. With regards to the rising numbers of infections in the Garden Route area, “we have full confidence in the preparation and capacity of the Western Cape government to identify and contain any further outbreaks or hotspots as we go into this crucial holiday season,” Steenhuisen said.

TimesLIVE Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said the DA welcomed the decision to add additional restrictions in Nelson Mandela Bay. In fact, the party said it noted the decision, and called on the president to intervene in the metro. The error is regretted.

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